Kyrie Irving will grace the first video game cover of his career with NBA Live 14. (EA Sports)
EA Sports announced Thursday that Cleveland's Kyrie Irving will grace the cover of NBA Live 14 as the franchise seeks to make a comeback and challenge 2K Sports' domination of basketball video games.
The news of the All-Star guard's being featured in EA Sports' first NBA Live installment in four years comes as little surprise after an Irving-centric trailer for the game debuted at E3 last month. But this is our first glimpse of the dialed-down cover art style that stands as a significant departure from the last NBA Live title to be released, in October 2009. It's not bad, all things considered, and in truth the casing of a game like this one matters little compared to its playability. In that regard, NBA Live -- briefly known as NBA Elite in an iteration that never got off the ground -- still has a lot to prove.
An initial comeback bid -- to which Irving also had ties -- was delayed and then canceled last September. The franchise has enough longtime fans to get a crack at the NBA video game market if the release follows through and actually lives up to contemporary simulation standards. But even that is a bit of an assumption considering EA Sports' last two attempts didn't even make it to shelves. The business is better when 2K and EA challenge one another and differentiate themselves, but belief in NBA Live's rebound should pend an actual release, which is scheduled for the fall.
Here's the trailer that accompanied Thursday's announcement: